Immigration – it’s a word that stirs emotions and much political debate.  There are a number of immigration issues being discussed amongst lawmakers in Washington, DC and state capitols across America.  But you may not be aware of important immigration concerns that impact Sabre.

The U.S. has a large number of technology experts that we recruit and hire but to stay on the cutting edge of our global customer needs and growing demand for our services, we must also look for the best talent in other countries. There are thousands of highly skilled immigrants educated in the United States but too often government red tape and an inflexible immigration system prevent technology companies like Sabre to effectively and efficiently retain this talent for highly skilled jobs.  However, 2013 has been a year of promising developments that give me hope that America will reform its outdated immigration laws and allow companies like Sabre to compete for the best talent in the world.

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of four senators introduced an immigration bill aimed at addressing this very problem.

The bill, called the Immigration Innovation Act, would increase the number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) visas. A cap currently limits the number distributed each year. The bill focuses on areas vital to ensuring the U.S. can maintain its competitiveness in the global economy. Twenty seven Senators have now endorsed this legislation.

Sabre expressed its support for this legislation along with a number of large, global technology companies including Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, IBM, Hewlett-Packard Company, Facebook, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Semiconductor Industry Association, and many others.

The Immigration Innovation Act also would provide additional temporary employment visas and additional green cards for permanent employment, and invest money from STEM visa fees in education programs aimed at attracting more American young people to STEM fields.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee tackled broader immigration reform in May, key Senators negotiated provisions into a much broader immigration bill that includes the key concepts of the I-Squared Act.  The full Senate is expected to debate the legislation in June and Sabre will be working with other technology companies to ensure that the positive sections of the bill remain intact.

In addition, key leaders in the House of Representatives recently introduced legislation to reform our high-skilled immigration policies and also included increases in H-1B visas and green cards for highly-skilled students and workers. While the path to an immigration bill becoming law is a complicated one, we are excited that policymakers on both sides of the political spectrum agree that we need significant reforms to our employment visa systems.

While we are working with lawmakers on this important issue, Sabre is prepared to be part of the solution by helping to facilitate a higher level of STEM training in the U.S. Historically, Sabre has supported and encouraged students to pursue high-tech career through our “Math Can Take You Places” program.

In addition to our support of the Immigration Innovation Act, Sabre has joined inSPIRE STEM USA, a coalition of organizations, companies and leaders supportive of a short and long-term strategy to close today’s STEM job gap and strengthen the STEM education pipeline to ensure the United States remains globally competitive well into the future by producing more college graduates with engineering and computer science degrees.  One of the coalition’s main goals – increasing federal investment in secondary STEM education through increased fees on H-1B visas and green cards – is included in both the Senate and House legislation mentioned above.

A true global community exists more today than ever before.  And we must take advantage of every edge – no matter where it comes from.  Reforming our immigration laws would make it easier to Sabre to compete in the global community by attracting talented and skilled employees no matter their home country.